Some residents of Oyo State have expressed their dissatisfaction with the directive of the government that street hawkers across the state should vacate the roadsides within seven days.
On Saturday, the state commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Idowu Oyeleke, while speaking on a programme, ‘Bottomline’ on Impact Business Radio 92.5FM, said regardless of the cause of roadside hawking, the government must take corrective measures.
But some hawkers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said the directive is coming at a time when the nation is battling with a high unemployment rate.
Speaking on how the hawkers will be taken away from the roads, the commissioner said a framework would be designed.
“What we do is to design a framework which works. It is difficult to identify individuals trading on the street and you start giving them notice. But I have invited most of the market leaders to my office and it is the market leaders that we served to go and talk to those who believe that the only thing to do is to trade on the street.”
“For instance, go to Sango and Iwo Road, how do you serve each person selling on the road a notice per head? We have called their leadership so, they will not blame the government when it swings into action.”
He also disclosed that Environment Task Force officers, launched by Governor Seyi Makinde, have come under violent attacks from hawkers.
“You realise that the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, some few months back, set up the Environment Task Force and not only that, we also have Environmental Task Force Tribunal and the objective of this task force is to go round and ensure that people are discouraged from trading on the street and of course they have been working.”
“About four days ago, my people were somewhere in Iwo Road to chase people away from the road but the people attacked them. A policeman was wounded, his uniform was torn, the environmental officers were beaten and we have to take them to the hospital”.
Reacting to this, one of the hawkers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, Sunmonu Alao, said the action of the state government will threaten the livelihood of residents.
“I’ve got no other job (except) hawking gala, what it means is that I will go hungry due to efforts by the government to clean the streets. Do they even put into considerations the condition of people who eat daily from what they make daily?” he asked.
Another resident, who simply identified herself as Suliiat, said, “the gain from sachet water would not be enough to feed my family let alone get shop to sell. We hope the government puts a human face to this directive.”